Research on Autism - Studies Shedding Light on Possible Triggers and Causes of Autism

What does some research on autism reveal about this condition, in particular its possible causes and triggers?

Many studies have been conducted on autism and its possible causes and triggers. It still remains a controversial topic to explore, partly because there hasn't been a direct link that has been scientifically proven between autism and any outside cause.

However, research has uncovered some causes and factors that can definitely increase the likelihood of developing autism.

One of the most important studies conducted on autism concerns pregnant women. Some researchers claim that the prenatal hormone levels have something to do with it. Research on autism has shown that the more testosterone that is in the womb, then the more likely the child will be diagnosed with autism later on down the road.

Some studies have suggested that there is a link between a woman's stress during pregnancy and the increased risk of the child developing autism. Serotonin, which is a chemical that helps regulate moods and is linked to depression, has been studied as well in research on autism.

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Other researchers have studied whether or not any autoimmune disorders suffered by the mother has any bearing on the child's risk of developing autism. Such diseases as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis have been studied. It has even been shown that women who have psoriasis during pregnancy actually double their risk of having a child that is autistic.

The role of heavy metals and toxins is perhaps the most well-known research on autism that has been conducted. However, mercury isn't the only toxic trigger that has been studied. Along with mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and manganese have also been investigated.

While studies have been conducted on the role of thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative that was used in vaccines, there have also been studies on whether or not a pregnant woman's exposure to mercury might also increase the child's risk of developing autism.

As a result of such research on autism, pregnant women have been warned away from consuming fish that contain high levels of mercury, like tuna and swordfish. Pregnant women have also been warned about limiting their exposure to chemicals, such as air fresheners or sprays, that haven't yet been fully tested.

Research reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry has found that there are other factors which increase autism risk for fetuses as well. These include being born to an older parent (someone over the age of 30), having a mother that bled during pregnancy, having a mother that used medication during pregnancy, being born to a mother with gestational diabetes, and being the first born child.

What are some possible ways to explain the findings of such research on autism?

The advanced age of a mother could increase the autism risk for a child due to the fact that there is naturally a higher risk of the eggs containing chromosomal abnormalities. Bleeding during pregnancy, which is often not serious, can lead to fetal hypoxia, which is when the child is unable to receive oxygen to the brain.

Further, the child's development and overall health can be affected by gestational diabetes, which causes the mother to have metabolic and hormonal changes. There are some medications, too, that can cross over the placenta during pregnancy and can cause adverse effects on the developing fetus.

Vaccinations are not the only source of controversy when it comes to autism. There is also research on autism linking the anti-convulsing drug laporate, which is given to women with epilepsy, with increased cases of autism. Studies have shown that women who took laporate were seven times more likely to have a child that was later diagnosed with autism. Other drugs taken for epilepsy did not appear to cause such adverse effects.

More and more studies continue to emerge concerning autism and the links and triggers that might be connected to the condition. Although some are more controversial than others, so far, all of them have shed just a little bit more light on what causes autism and how it might be treated more effectively in the future.

After reading about some research on autism, you can find out more about this condition by reading the other related autism articles and pages on this website.

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Click here for access to the Essential Guide to Autism, where you can learn vital information about this condition.

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